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Singapore banks to issue SMS alerts for ATM withdrawals by end-June: The Straits Times

Zafar Anjum | Jan. 19, 2012
While the threshold has yet to be determined, industry sources suggest that it will likely be between $500 and $1,000.

Local and foreign banks in Singapore will have to introduce SMS alerts for ATM withdrawals over a set amount, whether made in Singapore or overseas, by 30 June, the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) told The Straits Times.

In a report published today (19 Jan), the daily newspaper said “alerting customers to large cash withdrawals is among the safeguards lined up to make ATMs safer, as the banking industry responds to the million-dollar scam that hit DBS and POSB customers two weeks ago”.

Formed in 1973, the ABS is a pivotal channel in the country for feedback on legislation and guidelines relating to the banking industry. ABS has about 10 member banks that offer ATM services. ABS also represents its members on local and regional industry bodies, including the ASEAN Bankers Association.

The newspaper report said that while the threshold has yet to be determined, industry sources suggest that it will likely be between $500 (US$392) and $1,000, although customers will get the option to set the amount.

These new measures are being suggested in light of the recent skimming incident involving Singapore’s leading bank, DBS Bank. In the first week of the year, about 400 POSB and DBS Bank customers holding ATM and debit cards had nearly S$500,000 fraudulently withdrawn from their accounts over two days.

The affected bank said on 14 January that it was fast-tracking the rollout of additional security measures to further guard against unauthorised ATM withdrawals.

With immediate effect, the DBS Bank has blocked overseas ATM withdrawal function
 for customers with no recent history of overseas usage. Also, with effect from Tuesday, 17 January 2012, customers who have chosen to enable their cards for overseas use will also receive a real-time SMS alert confirming their request, the bank said in a public announcement.


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